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New Teacher Evaluation Bill…Good, Bad, or None of the Above?

By: Donna Hupe
Posted Wed., July 11, 2012

A new state-wide teacher evaluation system may be used very soon in Pennsylvania. Karen Langley, a reporter for the Harrisburg Post-Gazette Bureau, stated “Current law prevents the use of test scores or other measures of student achievement to judge teachers, leaving districts to rely on classroom observation. Under the proposal that unanimously passed the House, evaluations would be evenly split between observation and various measures of student performance.” The good news from this decision is that teachers will be evaluated based on both observations and the performance/progress of their students.

Another provision involves the school principals. These building administrators will also be evaluated “on building-wide student data, including test scores and graduation, and on teacher evaluations, among other measures.” More than ever…both teachers and principals will be held accountable whenever it comes to the learning success of students.

It appears that the legislation has also won approval by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA). The teacher’s association has stated that this proposal is fair to teachers because student performance will encompass more than just test scores. PSEA president, Mike Crossey, stated for the media, "Educators are not afraid of having our performance evaluated. We just want to be certain that our evaluations are based on the wide variety of factors that go into teaching our students. This proposal achieves most of those goals."

Representative Ryan Aument from Lancaster sponsored the compromise amendment. He, along with many other PA legislators, believes that the current system of teacher evaluation needed an overhaul.

The question…what do teachers think about the need for a new evaluation system? This blog author believes that the majority of teachers are in favor of some type of new system. There are many teachers who dedicate an overwhelming amount of time and efforts to students. In many cases, these same teachers believe that they deserve higher ratings as compared to the teachers who are mediocre and do not strive to provide the very best education for their students.

The key to the success of the new evaluation proposal will be linked with the assurance that observations and use of student achievement measures are equal. In other words, teachers will not support a system that suggests that students’ failure is equal to the teacher’s failure. As many educators realize…student success must include a variety of factors such as different types of assessment, activities that are presented in lessons, and parent support for their children.

More information regarding this new teacher evaluation system will be conveyed by Donna Hupe in future blogs.

As of the date of this blog publication, there is no news regarding the Senate vote. It appears the Pennsylvania Senate will approve this proposal soon.  

News media coverage regarding the new teacher evaluation bill can be found below:  

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/pa-house-approves-teacher-evaluation-bill-642434/  

http://www.necn.com/06/27/12/New-teacher-evaluations-gets-support-in-/landing_politics.html?&apID=1fd3fbe7a1f74ba09eee768da1b67771 

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/06/pa_house_approves_bill_to_reva.html

 

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Donna Hupe,
Education

Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.